Scenes of Domestic Bliss
By Roshi Eve Marko, originally appeared on www.evemarko.com on April 10th, 2017
Does your right leg hurt? I ask Bernie in the morning.
I don’t know, does it?
I look at him, bewildered. It’s your leg, you tell me.
But is it his leg if he can’t feel it? This leads to all kinds of philosophical musings.
One weekend afternoon I hear him talking to a musician on the phone, someone who’s been in the spotlight for most of his life but now was telling Bernie that he messed up a song, couldn’t remember the chords. I lost my confidence, man, he says.
That means you lost your knowing, says Bernie. If you have confidence, that means you still know something. You lose your confidence, you lose your knowing, and you just go on playing.
I’m cold. Can you raise the temperature?
Bernie, you’re on top of the covers.
Blankets are meant to cover you, be on top, not under.
Are you sure?
In the evening Bernie tells me a joke.
I don’t get it.
It’s a non-gettable joke, he informs me.
We start laughing. But Bernie, is a joke still a joke if it’s non-gettable?
Of course it is, see how you’re laughing?
That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.
But by now we’re both laughing hard, Bernie with high-pitched giggles.
Don’t talk to him, Jessie, I tell Jessie who works in the office. He’s talking with his left hand.
Bernie gesticulates as he talks, which he should do with his right hand. More use of that right hand equals more strength and versatility.
Where’s my mitt? he says, looking around his desk for the white mitt which he brought back with him from the Taub Clinic, in which they inserted his left hand, forcing him to use the right.
Of course, someone suggests, you can just use your mouth to talk and leave your hands out of it.
I’m from Brooklyn, he says, putting his left hand inside the mitt. And as he talks, the right hand comes to life.
Roshi Eve Myonen Marko is one of the founding teachers of the Zen Peacemaker Order and a principal teacher at Green River Zen Center in Massachusetts, USA. She has co-led bearing witness retreats in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Rwanda and the Black Hills. Eve writes regularly in her blog and is the author of the novel The Dogs of the Kiskadee Hills: Hunt for the Lynx.